What does a naturopath do?

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What does a naturopath do?

Does the homeopath exist? What is a naturopath and what does it do?

When patients seek treatment from alternative practitioners, there is often a lack of knowledge of the skills, training and little general knowledge of the profession. Many patients assume that there is a completed professional training to become an alternative practitioner, which is linked to learning and practicing standardized naturopathic methods.

The reality is different. The term alternative practitioner may be used to refer to anyone who has passed an official medical examination by the state health authorities, which has determined that the candidate does not represent "no danger to public health". The application and the granting of a permit go through the district office or the city administration.

Knowledge and practical experience in naturopathy and naturopathic methods of treatment and diagnosis are not of essential importance in the written (multiple choice) and oral (by medical officer and non-medical practitioner) examination, but the most basic medical knowledge about the human organism, risks and one's own treatment Limits. The training for alternative practitioners has not yet been regulated by the state and attending a school for alternative practitioners is not a mandatory requirement for admission to the examination. There are, however, certain prerequisites for being admitted to the exam: You must have reached the age of 25, have at least a secondary school leaving certificate, have a police clearance certificate without serious entries, and be free from serious physical defects.

Most naturopaths can be trained in "schools for naturopathy", learn about the general basics and the variety of procedures and then deepen their knowledge in subject-specific training depending on their interests and disposition, e.g. Homeopathy or TCM. Conversely, there are also those therapists who are responsible for practicing a procedure that has already been learned, e.g. osteopathy, obtained approval to practice this method through the medical examination as a naturopath. In addition, there is a constant obligation to continue training for alternative practitioners, which has now also been certified by some associations.

The profession of homeopath or osteopath does not (yet) exist in Germany. The profession is the doctor or the alternative practitioner who practices homeopathy, osteopathy, TCM, there is no separate profession for the individual procedures in Germany.

In addition to doctors and psychotherapists, only alternative practitioners are allowed to practice medicine independently. The professional basis for alternative practitioners is provided by the "Heilpraktiker-Gesetz" (law on the professional practice of medicine without appointment) from 1939.

With a private full or additional health insurance as well as with the claim to allowance, the patient can have certain treatment methods reimbursed at fixed fees according to the fee schedule for alternative practitioners (GebüH). According to a current extrapolation of the fee and expert commission of important non-medical practitioners' associations, the reimbursements by the private health insurance and allowance amount to 180 million euros annually (in: Der Heilpraktiker & Volksheilkunde 12/2009, p.36)

Bierbach, Elvira (Ed.): Naturheilpraxis heute, Urban & Fischer 2002
König, Karl-Fritz, board spokesman for the fee and expert committee, in: “180 million euros for alternative practitioner patients”; The alternative practitioner & folk medicine 12/2009

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